FBI probes hanging death of black teen in North Carolina #LennonLacy

Teenager’s mysterious death evokes painful imagery in North Carolina: ‘It’s in the DNA of America’

The swing set where Lennon Lacy was found hanging  in the rural town of Bladenboro, North Carolina

The swing set where Lennon Lacy was found hanging in the rural town of Bladenboro, North Carolina

From The Guardian:

Friday 29 August was a big day for Lennon Lacy. His high school football team, the West Bladen Knights, were taking on the West Columbus Vikings and Lacy, 17, was determined to make his mark. He’d been training all summer for the start of the season, running up and down the bleachers at the school stadium wearing a 65lb exercise jacket. Whenever his mother could afford it, he borrowed $7 and spent the day working out at the Bladenboro gym, building himself up to more than 200lbs. As for the future, he had it all planned out: this year he’d become a starting linebacker on the varsity team, next year he’d earn a scholarship to play football in college, and four years after that he’d achieve the dream he’d harboured since he was a child – to make it in the NFL.

“He was real excited,” said his Knights team-mate Anthony White, also 17, recalling the days leading up to the game. “He said he was looking forward to doing good in the game.”

The night before the game, Lacy did what he always did: he washed and laid out his football clothes in a neat row. He was a meticulous, friendly kid who made a point of always greeting people and asking them how they were doing. Everybody in his neighbourhood appears to have a story about how he would make a beeline to shake their hand, or offer to help them out by moving furniture or anything else that needed doing. “He was in the best sense a good kid,” said his pastor, Barry Galyean.

His brother, Pierre Lacy, said that football was the constant that ran through Lennon’s life since he started out as a Pee Wee: “He was very serious about being a professional, very passionate about it. He never changed his mind or wavered from the course.”

Lennon Lacy

Lennon Lacy

But Lacy never made it to the game that night. At 7.30am on Friday – exactly 12 hours before the game was scheduled to start – he was found hanging from a swing set about a quarter of a mile from his home. The Knights had lost one of the most promising players; his tight-knit family was thrown into despair; and a question echoed around the streets of the tiny town of Bladenboro, North Carolina: what had happened to Lennon Lacy?

The last person known to have seen Lacy alive was his father, Larry Walton. Around midnight on the night before the game, he came out of his bedroom to fetch a glass of water and saw his son preparing his school bag for the following morning. “I told him he needed to get to bed, the game was next day, and he said ‘OK, Daddy’.” A little later Walton heard the front door open and close; Walton assumed Lacy must have stepped out of the house, but thought no more of it and went to sleep.

Next morning there was no sign of Lacy, and Walton and Lacy’s mother, Claudia, thought he’d gone off to school. Later that morning, Claudia noticed he’d left some of his football gear on the line, so she called the school to say she’d bring it to him before the game. She was surprised to be told that her son hadn’t turned up at school. Just as she put the phone down, there was a knock on the door, and the Bladenboro police chief, Chris Hunt, was standing in front of her.

“I need you to come with me,” he said.

Claudia was led to a trailer park a short walk from her home, where an ambulance was parked on the grass next to a wooden swing set. Even before she had got to the ambulance she saw police officers clearing away the crime scene tape that had been placed around the swing.

Then she saw Lennon’s body lying in the ambulance in a black body bag, and on top of the immense shock and grief of seeing her son lifeless in front of her, the bewilderment intensified. “I know my son. The second I saw him I knew he couldn’t have done that to himself – it would have taken at least two men to do that to him.”

She noticed what she describes as scratches and abrasions on his face, and there was a knot on his forehead that hadn’t been there the day before. In a photograph taken of Lacy’s body lying in the casket, a lump is visible on his forehead above his right eye. “From that point on it was just not real, like walking through a dream,” she said.

Five days after Lennon Lacy was found hanging, the investigating team – consisting of local police and detectives from the state bureau of investigation – told the family that it had found no evidence of foul play. There was no mention of suicide, but the implication was clear. In later comments to a local paper, police chief Hunt said: “There are a lot of rumours out there. And 99.9% of them are false.”

The Lacys were left with the impression that, for the district attorney, Jon David, and his investigating team, the question of what had happened to Lennon Lacy was all but settled just five days after the event. But it wasn’t settled for them.

As the Rev William Barber, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in North Carolina, put it at a recent memorial service for Lennon Lacy held at the family’s church, the First Baptist in Bladenboro: “Don’t ask these parents to bury their 17-year-old son and then act as though everything is normal. Don’t chastise them for asking the right questions. All they want is the truth.”

From that point on it was just not real, like walking through a dream
Barber was careful to stress that that truth was elusive – no one knows what happened to Lennon Lacy, he said, beyond the bald facts of his death. If a full and thorough investigation concluded that the teenager had indeed taken his own life, then the Lacy family would accept that.

But Barber also talked about the chilling thought that lingered, otherwise unmentioned, over the scores of black and white people attending the packed memorial. “The image of a black boy hanging from a rope is in the souls of all of us,” he told them. “It is in the DNA of America. In 2014, our greatest prayer is that this was not a lynching.”

Pierre Lacy with his mother, Claudia Lacy who holds a picture of her late son Lennon Lacy in his younger days. Photograph: Andrew Craft/The Guardian
In Bladenboro, a town of just 1,700 people – 80% white, 18% black – the bitter legacy of the South’s racial history is never far from the surface. The African Americans have a nickname for the place: they call it “Crackertown” in reference to its longstanding domination by the white population.

The events of 29 August have become entangled in that historical narrative, inevitably perhaps in a state in which 86 black people were lynched between 1882 and 1968.

While America debates whether it is moving into a post-racial age, the truth in Bladenboro is that the past is very much here and now, and that the terrible image of “strange fruit” will hover over this town for as long as the truth about Lennon Lacy’s death remains uncertain.

Which is paradoxical, because Lacy had joined a multiracial youth group across town at the Galeed Baptist church where he went for weekly services and basketball ministry, and his friends were black and white, in almost equal measure.

For several months before he died, he was also in a relationship with a white woman, Michelle Brimhall, who lives directly opposite the Lacy family home. The liaison with Brimhall raised eyebrows because, at 31, she was almost twice his age. (The age of consent in North Carolina is 16.)

“Everybody was going on to me because he was 17 and I am 31,” Brimhall told the Guardian. “We told people we weren’t seeing each other so they would stop giving us trouble.”

The Lacy family said that Brimhall had split up with Lacy a couple of weeks before he died and that she had a new boyfriend. But she denied that. “We were still together, I did not break up with him,” she said. “I had never had a man treated me as good as he did, and I probably will never find another.”

Brimhall said she did not notice any hostility towards them as a mixed-race couple. But she is convinced that Lennon did not take his own life. “No, Lennon did not kill himself. He loved his mother so much, he would never put her through that.”

She added: “I want to know who did it. I want them to suffer.”

Lennon Lacy’s first football team, in Virginia. Lennon is No52 on the far left.
Brimhall’s close friend, Teresa Edwards, lives a few doors down from the Lacys. Edwards said that she was desperate to find out the truth, particularly as Lacy was such a good person. “For him to be black – I’m not stereotyping or anything, I’m not racist, I love everybody – but he was a very well-mannered child.”

A white couple, Carla Hudson and Dewey Sykes, live in a trailer home right behind the Lacy house. Soon after Lennon died his family learned that a few years ago Sykes and Hudson had been instructed by police to remove from their front lawn a number of Confederate flags and signs saying “Niggers keep out”.

The Guardian asked the couple why they had put up the signs. Sykes said that it was his idea. “There were some kids who ganged up on our kid and I put some signs up.” Asked whether he now regretted doing so, he replied: “Yeah, I regret it now.”

Carla Hudson said she had begged her husband to take the signs down. “I told him he had to stop that. It wasn’t how I saw things – there’s not a racist bone in my body.”

There is no evidence to suggest that either Hudson or Sykes had anything to do with Lacy’s death. Asked about the teenager, Hudson said: “Lennon was like a son to me, and this was his second home. He was nothing like the people we have trouble with. In my eyes he was just perfect.”

About a week after Lacy died, his family, with the help of the NAACP and their own lawyer, put together a list of questions and concerns that they presented to the district attorney. First, there was the overriding sense that Lennon was simply not the kind of boy to harm himself. He had no history of mental illness or depression, and was so focused on his future it was inconceivable he would intentionally cut it short.

The image of a black boy hanging from a rope is in the souls of all of us
The day before Lacy was found hanging, there had been a funeral service for his great uncle Johnny, who had died a couple of weeks previously. Lacy had been close to his uncle, and was visibly upset, but not to an extreme degree, his family said. He grieved “as a normal person would”, Claudia said.

Then there were those facial marks on his body. Even the undertaker, FW Newton Jr, who has worked as a mortician for 26 years, was taken aback by what he saw.

Newton told the Guardian that when he received Lacy’s body two days after he died, he was struck by the abrasions he saw across both shoulders and down the insides of both arms. He also noted facial indentations over both cheeks, the chin and nose. Though police have told the Lacy family that ants were responsible for causing the marks, to Newton the state of the body reminded him of corpses he had embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight.

The Guardian asked the local Bladenboro police department, the district attorney and the state bureau of investigation to respond to the allegation that they had conducted an inadequate investigation. They all declined to comment on the grounds that the investigation was ongoing.

In a statement posted on the Bladenboro town website, the district attorney, Jon David, said that the “victims [sic] family, and the community, can rest assured that a comprehensive investigation is well underway. All death investigations, particularly those involving children, are given top priority by my office. Investigations are a search for the truth, and I am confident that we have a dedicated team of professionals, and the right process, to achieve justice in this matter.”

David said that his team was keeping the Lacy family and its representatives closely apprised of the investigation, and had met community leaders to explain to them the current state of affairs. But he added that “to date we have not received any evidence of criminal wrongdoing surrounding the death”.

The family have many other questions that they still want answered. Who desecrated Lennon Lacy’s grave a few days after the burial, dumping the flowers 40 feet away beside the road and digging a hole in one corner of the plot? Why didn’t forensic investigators take swabs from under Lacy’s fingernails and DNA test them to see if he had been in physical contact with anybody else before he died? Have the police probed deeply enough into Lacy’s wider group of friends and acquaintances; the family were disturbed to find, for instance, that one white associate of Lennon’s had a Confederate flag as the backdrop to his Facebook page.

Lennon Lacy’s grave was desecrated and a small hole dug in the plot.
They also want to know why it is it taking so long for the autopsy report to come through, with still no date set for its public release five weeks after the event. So far only the toxicology report has come back, showing that Lacy had no drugs, alcohol or other chemicals in his bloodstream.

The location where Lacy was found, the mobile home park at the Cotton Mill, has also caused the family great difficulty. The swing set from which he was hanging is one of eight such sets standing in a line in the middle of a rectangle of 13 mobile homes. The spot is desolate and vulnerable, overlooked as it is by so many trailer homes, like a sports field surrounded by grandstands.

“If my brother wanted to take his own life, I can’t understand why he would do it in such an exposed place. This feels more like he was put here as a public display – a taunting almost,” Pierre Lacy said.

This feels more like he was put here as a public display – a taunting almost
Lacy was found wearing a pair of size 10.5 white sneakers, with the laces removed, which no one in his family recognised. A few days before he died, he had bought himself a new pair of Jordans for the start of school year. They were grey with neon green soles, size 12, and have been missing ever since.

The family also wonders why the former husband of Michelle Bramhill and the father of her children, whom she left in February before relocating to Bladenboro, has yet to be interviewed by detectives. There is no evidence to implicate him in the circumstances surrounding Lacy’s death, but the family would still like to know why detectives have yet to speak to him.

Allen Rogers, a Fayetteville lawyer with 20 years’ experience in criminal cases who is representing the Lacy family, said there were too many questions still unanswered. “I don’t believe that a thorough investigation has been done, and within that investigation, the evidence the police has compiled is not sufficient to rule out foul play. The concern is that there’s been a rush to judgment – a desire quickly to settle any issue over the cause of death,” he said.

Rogers conceded that it was hard for any family to accept a suicide in its midst, and that it would be natural in those circumstances to search for alternative explanations, to clutch at straws. But he said that in this case the clutching at straws appeared to have been on the part of “elected officials who can’t deal with the realities of race. Given the sensitivity of the issues here, it’s much easier to put this in a box marked ‘suicide’ than ask the tough questions. I’m afraid that politics have held back the investigation.”

A few hours after Lacy’s body was discovered, the coach of the West Bladen Knights called the team together to break to them the tragic news. He asked them what they wanted to do. They voted unanimously to play on, dedicating the game to their lost brother, Lennon Lacy. They won, 57-22.

 


Opinion: A ponderously slow justice system brings itself into disrepute

Well said William Watson:

One less commented-on aspect of the tragic twin murders of our soldiers in October was the swift — in fact, immediate — dispensation of justice in both cases. The murderers, and does anyone doubt that’s what they were, were killed by the authorities. Their killing was not the deliberate administration of justice, but self-defence by police engaged in hot pursuit. 

We’re a country that officially, at least, disapproves of the death penalty, even if three in five of us keep telling pollsters we want it brought back. Our elected officials certainly disapprove of it, for they don’t bring it back. Even so, there was an abrupt finality to these two tragedies that I suspect most people are grateful for. (Just to be clear: the tragedies include how two apparently ordinary Canadian boys could have got themselves so twisted up as to do such crimes). Had the murderers lived, how long would their trials have taken? Would they have been finished by 2016? 2017? And can we be completely sure the verdicts would have been just? 

Here in Quebec, we’re still awaiting the formal trial of the person accused of the murder of a technician backstage at the victory celebrations of Pauline Marois the night she won herself a minority government in September 2012. Marois has had her government, has lost another election and is now retired from politics. But the trial isn’t starting until next year. Granted, it’s a difficult case, with the accused running his own defence. But we’re closing in on two and a quarter years from a crime for which there is no other suspect. 

We’re also now eight weeks — eight weeks — into the trial of a young man who does not dispute that, in May 2012, two and a half years ago, he killed another young man, videoed and posted the murder online, chopped the victim up and mailed parts of his body to various destinations. What’s under discussion, in great detail, is the state of his mind when he did so. 

Last week, three McGill University students charged in April 2012 for a sexual assault that had allegedly occurred in September 2011 had their charges dismissed when in an email to the prosecutor one important witness contradicted the complainant’s version of events. The students were obviously and understandably relieved, but, as the lawyer for one of them said, “It’s a heavy burden to carry around charges of this nature.”

Mike Duffy’s trial doesn’t get underway until next April, about two and a half years after the story of his expenses first broke. Two and a half years seems the norm in these things. The trial is scheduled for 41 days. How long do you suppose Jian Ghomeshi’s trial will take?

Yes, it’s important to get things right. Yes, “the one innocent man condemned will do both judge and justice more harm than the 10 guilty who escape” (though do spare a moment’s worry about the harm 10 guilty folk set free may do the rest of us). And, yes, the accused sometimes bring delay upon themselves with frivolous motions of one kind or another. 

But a system that works so ponderously slowly brings itself into disrepute. Other countries do things differently. When I lived in France for a year, I remember the case of a fellow who was in a bar fight Saturday and was sentenced to jail time the following Thursday. 

It’s important to get things right. But does all the extra time our system takes really improve the quality of our results? On that, I suspect there’s room for reasonable doubt.

 


Theresa Allore: Memorial Fund Drive

The Theresa Allore Memorial Fund

T-06

It has been some time since we have solicited for contributions to the Theresa Allore Memorial Fund. To date, the fund’s balance  / equity stands at about $10,000. This allows us to provide annual scholarships of approximately $200. Since 2011 there have been 3 scholarships awarded to Champlain College students. Notifications are given to students each Spring.

It was always our intention to raise approximately $20,000 so that we would be able to offer a more substantial award of $500 per student. To this end, We would ask that you consider donating to the fund today, and throughout the month of December so that we may be able to achieve our goal of $20,000.

No amount is too little. You may donate online by clicking the following:

 

Donate Button with Credit Cards

 

By mail or phone, contributions can be made by contacting the fund administrator at Champlain College, Daniel Poitras. All gifts are eligible for the full tax advantages available by law for gifts to public charities in the United States and Canada.

Benefactors may contact:

Foundation Champlain-Lennoxville Inc.
Theresa Allore Memorial Fund
c/o Daniel Poitras, Treasurer
P.O. 5003 (Champlain Lennoxville Campus)
Sherbrooke, Québec, J1M 2A1
Tel: (819) 564-3666 ext. 130
BACKGROUND

The scholarship was established in conjunction with Champlain College in 2009 in memory of Theresa Allore.  Theresa was a promising student at the Champlain Lennoxville Campus in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. At the time of her death, she was studying the behavioral sciences, and had expressed an interest in the field of criminology. Theresa loved adventure, which lead to her interest in cycling, skydiving, and hiking.  She loved being outdoors, and particularly enjoyed hiking the local trails of Mount Orford.  Her special qualities included being a good friend, who did not judge others, but rather chose to draw encouragement and inspiration from everyone and everything she encountered.

Based on these qualities inspired by Theresa, the scholarship was established to take into consideration the student as a “total person”, including academic achievement, active participation in campus life, desire to serve others, and financial need.  

While we have struggled for many years with the tragic loss of a young life filled with a spirit of adventure, it has come the time to celebrate her life so that Theresa may inspire others.  There is no doubt in the hearts of those who had the privilege to share in her all too short life that this is exactly how Theresa would want to be remembered.

 


#StatsCan: Canadian Homicide rate fell 8% from 2012

stats

If you don’t wish to view the StatsCan Homicide Report through the lens of Canadian Media, here is the report direct from StatsCan:

Canadian police services reported 505 homicides in 2013, 38 fewer than the previous year. The homicide rate fell 8% from 2012 to 1.44 victims per 100,000 population. This marks the lowest homicide rate since 1966.

The overall decrease in homicides was the result of 40 fewer homicides reported in Quebec. The decrease in Quebec followed two years with higher than average numbers of homicides. There were 68 homicides in the province in 2013, representing a rate of 0.83 per 100,000 population. This was the lowest rate recorded in Quebec since reporting began in 1961.

While Quebec experienced a marked decline, six provinces reported modest increases in the number of homicides in 2013. Taking these increases into account, the homicide rates in nearly every province and territory were below their 10-year averages in 2013. The exceptions were Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, where the 2013 homicide rates were above their previous 10-year average.

Homicide rates continued to be generally highest in the West and the North. Provincially, Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate (3.87 per 100,000 population), followed by Saskatchewan (2.71), Alberta (2.04) and British Columbia (1.66). Nunavut (11.24) and the Northwest Territories (4.59) reported homicide rates higher than any province, while there were no homicides in Yukon for the third consecutive year.

Among Canada’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Regina reported the highest homicide rate (3.84 per 100,000 population), followed by Winnipeg (3.24) and Thunder Bay (2.46). Homicide rates were below the national average in Canada’s two largest CMAs, Toronto (1.34) and Montréal (1.08), while the third largest CMA, Vancouver (1.72), reported a homicide rate above the national average. No homicides were reported in Moncton, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Peterborough or Guelph in 2013.

Firearm-related homicides down, but fatal stabbings increase

There were 131 firearm-related homicides in 2013, down 41 from 2012. This resulted in the lowest rate of firearm-related homicide since comparable data became available in 1974. Despite the decline, shooting was the cause of death in about one-quarter (27%) of homicides.

The majority (68%) of firearm-related homicides were committed with the use of a handgun, a trend that has held over the last 20 years. Despite this trend, the rate of handgun-related homicides reached its lowest point since 1998.

While firearm-related homicides decreased in 2013, the number of fatal stabbings grew. There were 195 fatal stabbings, 31 more than in 2012. Stabbings accounted for 40% of all homicides in Canada in 2013.

Gang-related homicide declines

Police confirmed or suspected the involvement of gangs in 85 homicides in 2013. This compares with 96 reported in the previous year and marks the first decline after three years of no change. The rate of gang-related homicide was 0.24 per 100,000 population, its lowest level since 2004.

The rate of gang-related homicide was highest in British Columbia and Manitoba, the only two regions where the number of gang-related homicides increased compared with 2012. Among CMAs, Kelowna and Regina recorded the highest rates of gang-related homicide. Rates of gang-related homicide tend to be higher in CMAs than in non-CMAs, a trend that continued in 2013.

Most victims knew the accused person

Almost 9 in 10 (87%) solved homicides in 2013 involved a victim being killed by someone they knew, compared with 13% of victims who were killed by a stranger. As a result, the rate of stranger homicide (0.14 per 100,000 population) was the lowest recorded in over 40 years.

More specifically, victims of homicide in 2013 typically knew the accused person as an acquaintance (45%), a family member (33%) or through a criminal relationship (9%). While the number of homicides involving strangers decreased 25% in 2013, those involving acquaintances or non-spousal family members were relatively stable. The number of homicides committed in the context of a criminal relationship increased 57% from 23 to 36.

Fewer intimate partner homicides

The number of victims of intimate partner homicide (homicide committed by a current or former spouse, common-law partner, dating partner or other intimate partner) decreased in 2013. There were 68 intimate partner homicides reported in 2013, 14 fewer than in the previous year. As has been the case historically, most victims of intimate partner homicides were female (82%).

The rate of intimate partner homicide for both male and female victims has declined considerably over the past two decades. The 2013 intimate partner homicide rate for males was 73% lower than it was in 1993, while the rate for females (-48%) declined by nearly half over the same period.

Most solved homicides are solved within one week of their occurrence

Since 2003, about three-quarters (76%) of all homicides that occurred have been solved by police. Of these, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) were solved within 7 days. A further 26% were solved between 8 and 364 days, while 5% were solved one year or more after the incident occurred.

Of homicides that have been committed and solved since 2003, the median length of time between the homicide occurring and being solved was 2 days. Gang-related homicides (6 days) and homicides related to the illegal drug trade (7 days) had a longer median length of time between occurring and being solved. Gang-related homicides committed with the use of a firearm had a median of 16.5 days between occurring and being solved by police.

 


Authorities confirm body is U-Va. student #HannahGraham

Law Enforcement should not / and will not rush this. Matthew has already been indicted on the Fairfax County rape:  Take the time and get it right.  

From the Washington Post:

harrington-matthew-graham_606

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The body found on an abandoned property outside of this college town has been confirmed as the remains of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham, a grim result that came nearly six weeks after the 18-year-old from Fairfax County went missing.

Graham was last seen in the early morning hours of Sept. 13, after she was wandering the Downtown Mall here, about a mile and half from her apartment near U-Va.’s idyllic campus. Police on Sept. 24 arrested Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, on charges related to Graham’s disappearance after witnesses identified him as the last person with her.

A graduate of West Potomac High School, Graham was known by friends for her vibrant smile, jovial personality and spontaneous sense of humor. She spent the last night before she went missing socializing with friends from U-Va.’s ski club.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah,” her parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement Friday after authorities confirmed her death. “Put simply, Hannah lit up our lives, the lives of our family and the lives of her friends and others who knew her. Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) expressed sympathy for the Graham family.

“Our hearts are broken by today’s news, but that will not diminish our resolve to get justice for Hannah and her family,” McAuliffe said.

Graham, who police say had been drinking, left her apartment at about midnight on Sept. 13 to meet up with friends, but she became disoriented on Charlottesville’s streets. She began walking east and soon became lost, turned around in a neighborhood where she’d only lived since classes began for the fall semester, about two weeks earlier. Realizing she was in the wrong place, she sent text messages to friends asking for someone to meet up with her.

She arrived by chance at the Downtown Mall, where she was seen walking with Matthew, who at one point had his arm around her, according to surveillance videos police have released. She disappeared shortly after 1 a.m., walking away from a downtown restaurant with Matthew, according to witnesses.

Jenna Van Dyck, 20, a senior who was close friends with Graham, said that the sophomore never meant to be in that area that night.

“What’s most frustrating is that she just got lost and crossed paths with a predator,” Van Dyck said.

A widespread search for Graham commenced in the days following, with authorities and volunteers spreading out across all corners of the city and the surrounding counties of Nelson and Albemarle.

Police on Oct. 18 announced that a Chesterfield County sheriff’s deputy had discovered human remains near a run-down house on Old Lynchburg Road, about 12 miles southwest of Charlottesville.

Hannah Graham’s parents issued a statement upon confirmation that remains found on an abandoned property last week are those of their 18-year-old daughter, who went missing Sept. 13. Read the Graham family’s statement.

“Since the discovery along Old Lynchburg Road, officers and detectives have been working around the clock to process the scene and preserve evidence,” Albemarle County police officials said in a statement Friday. “We remain committed to this investigation and will work to ensure that justice is served.”

Graham’s body was found about five miles from a hayfield where the remains of slain Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington were discovered in 2010, 101 days after she went missing in October 2009. Two people close to the investigation have told The Washington Post that a “forensic link” between the Graham case and the Harrington investigation have been traced to Matthew’s DNA. No charges have been filed in the Harrington case.

Court records show that Matthew once lived at a home about five miles from where Graham’s body was found. Matthew has been charged with abducting Graham with the intent to sexually assault her.

Albemarle County commonwealth’s attorney Denise Lunsford said that she is exploring additional charges against Matthew. In Virginia, if a victim is killed in the course of an abduction, rape or an attempted rape, it can be charged as a capital offense, which can carry the death penalty or a mandatory life sentence upon conviction.

“We are working diligently with local law enforcement on the investigation to ensure that we make the best determination for our community and the Grahams in the pursuit of justice,” Lunsford said.

Matthew is being held without bond and is expected to be moved to Fairfax County soon to face charges related to a violent sexual assault and attempted slaying that occurred in Fairfax City in 2005. He was indicted in that case this week.

James L. Camblos III, a lawyer who is representing Matthew in the Graham case, said that Matthew’s family expressed sorrow for the Graham family.

“On behalf of the Carr family, and speaking for myself as well, the Graham family is in our thoughts and prayers in their time of bereavement,” Camblos said, referring to Matthew’s relatives. “The Carrs also asked me to say that they will continue to pray for the Grahams and the Harringtons throughout this ordeal.”

Graham’s death is casting a pall over the U-Va. campus in Charlottesville, where thousands of students, alumni and community members plan to gather for homecoming festivities this weekend.

“Hannah showed great promise as a student and as a young woman,” U-Va. president Teresa Sullivan said in a statement. “For Hannah’s young life to end so tragically, and for her destiny of promise to be left unfulfilled, is an affront to the sanctity of life and to the natural order of human events. This is a sorrowful day in the life of the University.”

Abraham Axler, 19, who serves as president of the Class of 2017, said that the ordeal has deeply affected the school. He is among a group of students preparing a memorial on campus to honor Graham.

“It’s very scary that something like this could happen in such a serene place,” said Axler, of New York. “Hannah’s disappearance represents a permanent change in consciousness about what it means to be safe in our community. The legacy of Hannah is how Virginia can be the safest campus in the country.”

Axler said that students and those in the community will be able to visit the memorial on Sunday morning. It will feature a chair constructed of skis, an homage to her passion for the winter pastime, covered with flowers.

The Grahams said that their daughter intended to pursue a career in global public health, where she could offer assistance to those in need.

“It is heartbreaking for us that she was robbed so tragically of the opportunity to fulfill her dream,” the Grahams said.

Since Graham went missing almost six weeks ago, the Grahams have lived what they described as “every parent’s worst nightmare.”

“When we started this journey together, we all hoped for a happier ending,” the Grahams said Friday. “Sadly that was not to be.”

The Grahams also noted that several young women remain missing in the greater Charlottesville area, and throughout the country, who deserve the nation’s attention.

“Although the waiting has ended for us, there are other families both in Virginia and beyond who have not been as fortunate in that their loved ones are still missing,” the Grahams said. “Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers.”

 


Active Shooter incident in Ottawa

Footage from Globe reporter captures exchange of gun fire in Parliament Hill building:

 


#DarrenVann : Serial killer suspected as bodies of seven women found in Indiana

This Motel 6 in Hammond, Ind. is where police found one of seven women's bodies the weekend.

This Motel 6 in Hammond, Ind. is where police found one of seven women’s bodies the weekend.

Police investigating the slayings of seven women whose bodies were found over the weekend said Monday it could be the work of a serial killer, and that the suspect has told them his victims might go back 20 years.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said at a news conference that the suspect is 43-year-old Darren Vann of nearby Gary, Ind., who was convicted of a sex offence in Texas in 2009. His confession to the slaying of one woman in Indiana led police to the grisly discovery of six other bodies, including three on the same block, authorities said.

He said the Gary slayings appear to have happened recently, though Vann indicated there could be earlier victims. He said police are not actively looking for more bodies and have no indication that any murders have occurred in another state. He said Vann is co-operating with investigators in the hope of making a deal with prosecutors.

“It could go back as far as 20 years, based on some statements we have, but that has yet to be corroborated,” Doughty said.

Charges were expected to be filed later Monday in the death of 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy, whose body was found about 9:30 p.m. Friday at a motel, Doughty said. The Lake County coroner’s office said she was strangled.

Doughty said she was involved in prostitution and had arranged to meet Vann at the motel through a Chicago-area website. Police were called by someone who attempted to reach Hardy and “was provided suspicious text responses that she believed to be from the suspect while he was still inside the motel room.”

The discoveries began after Vann allegedly confessed to killing Hardy, then told investigators where more bodies could be found in abandoned homes in Gary, a deteriorating former steel town about 30 miles southeast of Chicago, police said.

A second body was found Saturday night in an abandoned home in Gary. The coroner said family members identified her as 35-year-old Anith Jones, who had been missing since Oct. 8.

Five other bodies were found on Sunday in various Gary homes, said Doughty, who identified two of the women as Gary residents Teairra Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36. Police have not determined the identities of the other three women, including two whose bodies were found on the same block where Jones’s body was found on Saturday.

Police said they took Vann into custody Saturday afternoon after obtaining a search warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary,

Hardy’s mother, Lori Townsend, said police told her that Vann asked that she perform a certain sex act, and “when she said ‘no’ and put up a fight, he snapped and strangled her,” she said, speaking from her home in Colorado. “This man is sick.”

Hardy graduated from high school in late 2013 and planned to go on to college to study music, Townsend said.

“She was full of life. She lit up a room with her smile and her beauty,” she said. “And she had a voice like a songbird.”

Gary, once a thriving steel town that’s known as the birthplace of Michael Jackson, has been struggling for decades. Its population has shrunk and its poverty rate hovers around 40 per cent. Thousands of homes are abandoned, many with weeds choking broken sidewalks — often on the same streets where other homes are tidy and well-kept.

One of the houses where police found a body was overgrown with trees in the front and there was trash strewn in the back of what looked like a falling down garage or shed.

Michael Tarm reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Tom Davies in Indianapolis and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.

 


Police search area where remains thought to be those of #HannahGraham were found

The initial interview with SGT Dale Terry who found the remains contained the following:

“It was behind a vacant home, in a dried-up creek bed, Terry said he found a skull and bones, along with a pair of tight, dark-colored pants.”

Description has since been scrubbed:

 

crime

From the Washington Post:

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Police on Sunday combed a narrow two-lane back road near an abandoned property in Albemarle County south of here, where searchers on Saturday found human remains thought to be those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Graham, an 18-year-old from Fairfax County, vanished in the early hours of Sept. 13. Jesse L. Matthew Jr., a 32-year-old Charlottesville man with whom Graham was last seen, was arrested and charged in her disappearance, but the young woman’s whereabouts were unknown.

branchThe remote location where the body was found was within three or four miles of the hayfield where the body of another missing college student was found in 2010. Both Graham and the second woman, Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, disappeared late at night in Charlottesville.
Police on Sunday blocked off a three-mile section of Old Lynchburg Road near where the body was found as investigators scoured the area. For much of its length the road is unmarked and without shoulders, surrounded by woods that are turning amber, gold and crimson, and with houses set back from the pavement, several with white country fences. A tiny brick church sits at one end of the barricaded stretch, across the road from a cemetery with several dozen weathered tombstones.

The northernmost police barricade on Old Lynchburg on Sunday was at its intersection with Red Hill Road. From that point, Red Hill winds a little more than three miles to the northwest before it borders the 742-acre Anchorage Farm. It was there that Harrington’s skeletal remains were found.
The grim discovery Saturday of human remains on a stretch of road in rual Virginia has put Charlottesville residents on edge. Officials have not determined the identity of the remains. 
Virginia State Police investigators said last month that the arrest of Matthew was a “significant break” in the Harrington case and provided an unspecified “new forensic link” in the quest for her killer.

The remains found Saturday were discovered by a sheriff’s deputy searching an abandoned property, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said. A conclusive identification has not been made and the remains were sent to the Virginia medical examiner’s office for forensic testing.

Longo said Graham’s family members had been notified. They have not commented on the discovery of the remains. Authorities also called off a search for Graham planned for Sunday, saying they would focus on identifying the body.

Graham’s disappearance has shaken Virginia’s flagship public university, where students have held candlelight vigils and worn orange ribbons in the hope of Graham’s return.

Student council president Jalen Ross helped organize a vigil on the U-Va. campus that attracted hundreds of students. Ross and others at the event, which occurred five days after Graham was last seen, spoke about the missing sophomore in the present tense. Now Ross said that the student council was planning a memorial for Graham to provide a central place on campus for students to honor her.​

“Nobody wanted to hear there’s been a body found,” Ross, 21, said Sunday.

But it was the news many students were expecting, Ross said. In the five weeks since Graham disappeared, a dark mood has again descended over the school.

Hannah Graham timeline
“It revives the whole pool of sadness everyone went through originally,” Ross said.

Many students have donned orange ribbons to keep Graham in mind. Every day since Graham vanished, Ross has worn one pinned to his shirt.

“I told myself  I’d wear it until they found her,” Ross said.

Ross said many students recalled that it took investigators 101 days to find Harrington.

“A lot of us were worried that it would take a long time or infinite time to get closure” in Graham’s case, Ross said.

On Sunday afternoon, the Rev. Heather Warren crafted the words for her evening sermon at St. Paul’s Memorial Church, across from the Charlottesville campus.

“It’s just profoundly sad,” Warren said. “There was always this hope that she might be found alive. That’s not there now.”

In the weeks after Graham vanished, the church kept its doors open for students distressed by the sophomore’s disappearance. Warren said the church has helped students find solace in prayer and passages of Scripture. In recent days, Warren said, she has been drawn to Psalm 139, which explores the constant presence of God even in the worst of times.

“Whither can I go from your presence?” Warren said Sunday, quoting the psalm’s first verses. “You might not know what that presence feels like. But that does not mean you are abandoned.” She began Sunday evening’s service with a moment of silence for Graham.

Friends and teachers have described Graham, a 2013 graduate of West Potomac High School in the Alexandria area of Fairfax, as a good student with a sense of humor.

At U-Va., Graham participated in an alternative spring break as a freshman, volunteering to spend long hours rebuilding homes destroyed by tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She was known as a central figure in the college’s ski club.

The investigation into Graham’s disappearance has produced leads in other unsolved cases.

Matthew, who had worked as an orderly at the U-Va. hospital, has been linked by DNA evidence to the investigations of two violent crimes: a sexual assault in Fairfax City in 2005 and the abduction and slaying of Harrington, police have said.

He has not been charged in either case.

In addition, two Virginia universities that Matthew attended between 2002 and 2003 said he was implicated in sexual assault cases. Both women declined to press charges against Matthew, and he was not convicted of any crime connected to the allegations.

Graham spent the evening of Sept. 12, a Friday, drinking and socializing with friends near campus before going out about midnight. By 1 a.m., she was seen wandering the Downtown Mall, about a mile and a half from her apartment. She sent messages to friends indicating that she was lost.

Shortly after 1 a.m., witnesses saw Graham with Matthew near the Tempo restaurant.

Brice Cunningham, the owner of Tempo, told The Washington Post that his employees later saw Graham and Matthew leaving the area together. She had not been seen since.

Police quickly focused on Matthew, searching his car and his Charlottesville apartment and eventually seeking a warrant for his arrest. Matthew was arrested Sept. 24 on a beach near Galveston, Tex., more than 1,300 miles from his apartment.

Matthew was charged with abduction with intent to defile, indicating that police think he planned to sexually assault Graham.

He is being held without bond in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

James L. Camblos III, the lawyer representing Matthew, said he would await further information.

“The police have located human remains, and we will wait to see what the medical examiner says to see who it is,” Camblos said.

 


A Black Detective, an 1870 Trial and a What If

jpdetective1-master675

Fantastic. From the New York Times. My favorite part:  “the derring-do of a crack Afro-Creole police detective versed in the latest “French” techniques — seemingly the first black detective in the United States to take part in a case that received national attention”

Michael A. Ross’s ‘Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case

Michael A. Ross, the author of a well-regarded study of the Supreme Court during the Civil War, thought of himself as a “meat and potatoes” legal historian.

But a decade ago in a New Orleans archive, something a bit spicier caught his eye: an 1870 newspaper article describing the “voodoo abduction” of a white toddler by two mysterious black women.

“I thought to myself, ‘This can’t possibly be true,’ ” Mr. Ross recalled recently by telephone.

The voodoo angle turned out to be hysterical rumor. But as he read on, Mr. Ross, now a professor at the University of Maryland, discovered an all-but-forgotten story of a sensational investigation and trial that gripped New Orleans and the national press for almost seven months. “There were so many other twists and turns that I was hooked,” he said.

Those twists, recounted by Mr. Ross in “The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era,”published this week by Oxford University Press, include psychic consultations, a shadowy “House of Secret Obstetrics” and the derring-do of a crack Afro-Creole police detective versed in the latest “French” techniques — seemingly the first black detective in the United States to take part in a case that received national attention, Mr. Ross says.

Photo

Michael A. Ross, author of “The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case,” at home in Hyattsville, Md. CreditDrew Angerer for The New York Times

The story also offers something else that was all but unheard-of in pre-Civil Rights-era trials involving African-Americans accused of crimes against whites: genuine suspense about the outcome.

Alfred L. Brophy, a historian at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said in an interview that at virtually any other moment, such a case would almost certainly have ended in a “legalized lynching.”

“Ross has unearthed an important story,” Mr. Brophy said. “Historians are going to argue about its broader significance for a long time.”

Beyond academia, Mr. Ross said he hoped his whodunit would add complexity to the public understanding of Reconstruction, restoring a sense of contingency to a period that is too often read as leading inexorably to Jim Crow.

“It was not inevitable that Reconstruction was going to fail,” Mr. Ross said. “There was a moment of real possibility.”

That moment was certainly a fraught one. When Mollie Digby, the 17-month-old daughter of Irish immigrants, was reported to have been kidnapped by two African-American women on June 9, 1870, the case immediately became enmeshed in broader social and political tensions.

To the white press, it was more proof that Louisiana was descending into racial chaos under Henry Clay Warmoth, the Illinois-born radical Republican governor. But to the government, it was a chance to prove that a newly integrated and professionalized police force — 28 percent of New Orleans’s officers were African-American — would aggressively investigate crimes allegedly committed by blacks.

 


#HannahGraham Our Greatest Hopes, Our Worst Fears:

Hannah Graham

Hannah Graham

Maybe this will bring some good. Help Save The Next Girl:

WASHINGTON POST

Human remains believed to be those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham have been found on an abandoned property outside Charlottesville, authorities announced Saturday evening.

Graham, 18, of the Alexandria-area of Fairfax County, vanished in the early hours of Saturday Sept. 13. She was last seen by witnesses on the Downtown Mall with a man identified by police as Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said authorities must still make a conclusive identification of the remains. But he said police have notified the teen’s family. Authorities also said Graham’s case has become a death investigation.

If the body is that of the sophomore, it marks a grim end to a five-week search for the teen, who apparently became lost after a night out drinking and socializing with friends.

The remains were found by a sheriff’s deputy in Albemarle County.

 

“I want to thank everyone who gave up their days, their nights, their weekends,” Longo said of the search for Graham. “People who called, wrote and dropped food and good wishes and words of encouragement to the search groups and the detectives who work so hard through this investigation.”

“Today would have not been possible without their prayers, their encouragement and their help,” the chief said.

Longo said a police official reached out to Hannah Graham’s parents, John and Susan Graham, with “a very difficult phone call to share this preliminary discovery.”

Police said they have been searching the property for any clues, and said they would not release further details at this stage of the investigation.

“Today’s discovery is a significant development. And we have a great deal of work ahead of us. We cannot and we will not jump to any conclusions in regards to today’s discovery,” said Col. Steve Sellers, of the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office.

“This sadly is now a death investigation,” Sellers said.

Police have said they linked Matthew’s DNA to the investigations of a violent sexual assault in Fairfax City in 2005 and the abduction and murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20, in October 2009.

Hannah Graham timeline

Matthew has also been identified as a football player who was accused of sexual assault at Liberty University in 2002 and transferred to Christopher Newport University, where he was accused of another sexual assault in 2003 before dropping out. The university investigations did not lead to criminal charges.

James L. Camblos III, the lawyer representing Matthew said he would await further information. “The police have located human remains and we will wait to see what the medical examiner says to see who it is,” Camblos said.

 


T-05

Ce site est du meurtre non résolu de Theresa Allore qui a été trouvé dans Compton, Québec le 13 Avril, 1979.

Si vous avez n'importe quelles informations à propos de la mort de Theresa et à propos de l'investigation contactent son frère John Allore: johnallore(@)gmail(dot)com. Merci.

This site is about the unsolved murder of Theresa Allore who died November 3, 1978 in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. If you have any information please contact her brother John Allore, johnallore(at)gmail (dot)com

kindle_badge_3

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 20 other subscribers

Older Posts